How Often Should You Update Content

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

Content is the way your business or organization communicates and drives engagement with your customers. Content on websites, blogs, social media, printing and email marketing needs to be fresh and updated regularly, just like kitty litter. Stale content like old kitty litter will drive people and search engines away causing your business, and your website ranking, to suffer. In most small businesses content is the responsibility the owner or a busy marketing person. Both probably have better things to do.

So just what is an adequate schedule to keep your content fresh? Here are some guidelines.

Website – Update your website as new things happen to your company. Search engines look for new content on websites and rank them accordingly. Old sites that have irrelevant data like one launched in 2004 that have never been changed won’t place high up on a search list. Even if your site is stagnant for shorter periods, your ranking can be affected. If your business doesn’t have a lot of changes, add resources and continue to update them at least monthly.

Twitter – Daily tweets or more keep your twitter feed alive and your followers following. One way to keep the flow going when you are busy is to use services like TweetDeck, which allow you to write tweets when you can and schedule their release when you would like.

Facebook – You should consider posting as frequently as once a day if you have a retail oriented business with an engaged fan base. However, for most other businesses, a weekly update is good enough.

Email Marketing – Email is the most intrusive form of marketing listed here because you invade your customers’ inboxes, which is their personal space. The frequency of your emails should respect that and you should only email as often as your customers what to hear from you. How often is that? Poll them and ask or offer multiple subscription options to your emails. A basic rule of thumb is that if you offer deals and discounts email once a day to once a week depending on how many deals you offer. If you email informational content like newsletters then once a month or even once a quarter is good. No matter how often you decide to send email, consistency is very important.

Direct Mail – While this is also intrusive, direct mail isn’t as intrusive as email. Your customer can elect to put your mail piece aside and look at when they have time. No one ever really does that with email. Again, like email marketing, consistency is very important with direct mail.

Collateral Marketing – These are your brochures, flyers, and other printed material. Just like your website, they should be updated when you have something new to add or have introduced a new product or service. If your product line is fairly stable, make sure the design of your marketing materials is fresh and up to date. Every few years evaluate them to see if your image is starting to look dated. Using a professional graphic designer to update your printing is money well spent because this is how you present and define your brand.

Hopefully the above will help you decide how often you need to update your content. Keep in mind that the quality of your content is even more important than frequency. If you are going to add something, make sure it is something valuable and well written. Just like kitty litter, no one wants to have anything to do with content when it when it stinks.

Advertisements
Posted in Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Web Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Networking – A Guide to Human Contact

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

Social media serves a purpose but it is not the ultimate way to get business. We are still humans and humans tend to want to deal with other humans when they do business. The tendency to hide behind social media does not help this. We still need to get out there and talk to people, interact with people and network.

Networking is such a valuable skill because it allows you to create new bridges. And it IS a skill–meaning it can be practiced and learned like anything else. You don’t have to be a born extravert to network well.

Networking allows you to reach new connections, which in turn will connect you with their own contacts, expanding your reach far more quickly than you could on your own. You can use networking to market your business or even yourself.

In other words, while it’s about who you know, it’s also about who OTHER people know, because those people might open you up to a whole new audience and new sales opportunities.

Here are three tactics to get your networking game into gear:

1. Get off your couch and into the real world. If you’re browsing on Twitter, Facebook, or sending out cold emails, it’s no wonder why doors aren’t opening for you. You’ve got to play the game. And sometimes, that means getting off your butt and actually meeting people.

Be proactive. Contact someone and ask him or her out for a 10-minute coffee break. Don’t expect a VIP to invest time in you unless you have an existing connection. Who do you know who knows this person and could introduce you? What networking events would host valuable networking contacts? And if you’re at one of those events, talk to people. Networking–and all human connection–is about initiative. If you don’t put yourself out there and say hello, no one else can do it for you.

2. Offer your contacts value, instead of just expecting value from them. The idea of networking makes people feel uncomfortable because we associate it with awkward, self-interested sales people working a room and handing out their business cards. Real networking isn’t about getting–it’s about mutual giving.

Networking done right is a two way street, where both parties work to make a human connection that provides reciprocal value. So for every networking interaction, ask yourself, how can I provide value to this person?

Figure out how you can help them before you interact: Can you be already known for leaving insightful comments on their blog? Can you offer them a unique solution to a problem? Could you help them find a valuable contact? Maybe they’d like the satisfaction of having someone to mentor–someone who listens to them and actually shows them a way they’ve applied their advice.

3. Respect those you’re networking with. If they are a valuable contact, treat them that way. Many who take the initiative to meet up with high-level VIPs know that it’s not enough to contact them. You have to make it easy for them to reply, because they are incredibly busy. By definition, if someone’s valuable enough for you to go out of the way to connect to, his or her time is more valuable than yours. Position your conversations with that fact in mind.

If you’re emailing to get in touch with someone, make answering the email as easy as saying “Yes.” So if you’re proposing a meet-up, make your intentions clear immediately and provide a specific time and location (letting them know you’re willing to be flexible). If you’re setting a meeting in person, don’t ramble. If you’re trying to learn from someone, understand how to ask good questions and allow your contact to talk more than you.

At the end of the day, networking is about two people offering one another mutual value. There’s nothing sleazy about building relationships with someone who is interested in the same things as you and would benefit from the relationship, too. Just learn how to offer value to another person, and soon you’ll have a stronger business and be able to reach more people than ever.

Posted in Life, Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

From the Mouths of Babes

 

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson

If you don’t know of Ingrid Michaelson, she is a young singer songwriter whose wide voice range and simple and personal writing style has recently made her a star. It is not that she made it to stardom that is interesting to a marketer but how she did it. Michaelson did not follow a usual route through the record companies; she built her following on the Internet. Somehow between being a kid “singing to her dolls in the basement,” and a star Michaelson figured out how to harness social media to make her music well known. Instead of Ingrid Michaelson going to the music industry to get discovered, she got discovered first and the music industry come to her.

Her path to success has been touted as being very different, but it really isn’t. She used a very simple and basic marketing formula. It wasn’t the Internet that made Ingrid Michaelson a star, it was Ingrid Michaelson. She spent her life crafting a look, voice, and style that people found great enough to buy into. Then she delivered her music where these people were. Not really that unique is it?

In business terms, she made a great product that appealed to an audience who respond to a particular marketing channel, in this case social media. She then used that channel to sell her great product. Isn’t this a very basic and simple marketing concept? Deliver the message where your customers are.

So, if you want to be star like Ingrid Michaelson in your industry follow these simple steps:

  1. Make a really great product that people want or need.
  2. Market your product where your customers are. That might be social media, the web, direct mail or something else
  3. Deliver the product.
  4. Repeat.

Look at any great brand and this the marketing formula they used becomes great.

Posted in Content Marketing, Life, Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Importance of Planning

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

This is one of those cases where the picture says it all. Great design is one thing, but knowing how it will look in the real world is probably even more valuable.

starbucks-sucks

Have a very Happy Holiday and New Year!

 

Posted in Graphic Design, Life, Marketing, Printing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 Signs of a Modern Website

If your website does not contain the following, you need a new website.

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

Website Build

Is your website optimized for search engines? When someone in on your website does it provide the right impression? Is it easy to navigate and find information? Is it easy to read on a mobile device?

The days of slow-loading and cumbersome websites are gone. Your visitors want to be able to find information in three clicks or less. Your website’s navigation must help anyone find the information they need with a minimum of hassle. If not, they will leave and find what they need somewhere else.

Websites also need to look good. People can spot a do it yourself website a mile away and not only does it give you and unprofessional appearance, but it may lack the simple things that make a website easy to use and inviting to your visitors.

Landing Pages

The concept of a home page on a website where everyone is directed is not necessarily viable any more. Search-engine optimized pages with specific information throughout the website are called landing pages. If someone searches on a keyword, such as “bicycle wheels,” they are directed to the page on your website with bicycle wheels and not the home page. Visitors quickly get the information they want without having to sift through information they don’t want.

Search

Almost all people searching for products and services on Google will not look past the first page of results. Even though paid advertising results on Google are rising, 75% of searchers still focus only on organic results. If your company’s website isn’t showing up on page one, you are missing major opportunities.

Though paid search has its place for some products and services, Boosting organic search dramatically by optimizing your website, creating custom landing pages and more will yield better results and more customers.

You can never underestimate the importance of your website. As the web changes and those using the web change, you need to keep up and make sure that your website is viable and a conduit to providing information and creating new business.

 

 

Posted in Content Marketing, Graphic Design, Marketing, Mobile Web, Mobile Website, Web Design | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Facts You Need To Know About Websites

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

In marketing, we never know if we are doing anything right until the psychologists study it. So they have and here are results from several studies of Internet site visitors. It boils down to 15 facts you should know about how people view websites.

  1. Text attracts more attention than random pictures. However, visuals with text such as info-graphics are very good at grabbing attention when someone is browsing.
  2. People start viewing your website from the top left corner.
  3. Readers ignore banners. Sorry online advertising industry.
  4. Fancy fonts are ignored. You are reading a backlit screen, simple, san-serif fonts like Arial and Verdana are best.
  5. People only scan the lower parts of your website. Newspapers have a saying that anything below the fold is not as noticed as the content above the fold.
  6. Short paragraphs work better than long ones. A page of text is much more inviting and looks easer to read if it is broken up into short sections and paragraphs.
  7. Lists are better at keeping your reader focused than large paragraphs.
  8. Expanding that idea, avoid large chunks of text. Some people even completely ignore them. If you do need it add some visuals to break it up a little. Also look to break the text up into logical sections and spread it out over multiple pages.
  9. Ads, that are placed on the top or left part of your website, get the most views.
  10. Ads, that are placed inside or below an awesome piece of content, get more views.
  11. Big pictures attract more attention than small ones. I know you probably already figured that out, but it’s nice to know the psychologists agree.
  12. Also headlines draw attention. Hence the name “Headline”. It’s pretty obvious but it is also very important.
  13. Visitors spend more time looking at menus and buttons than other parts of your website.
  14. White space is good, But don’t waste it.
  15. Menu works best when placed on the top part of your website.

Some of this is obvious, some not, but it is all important and needs to be considered when  designing a website.

Posted in Content Marketing, Graphic Design, Marketing, Mobile Web, Mobile Website, Web Design | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Over $12,500 Well-Spent

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com

As marketing professionals we need to be looking for opportunities to share what we know with those who may need it. There are organizations out there trying to do good but can’t afford the marketing know-how to get their message heard.

One small way this is being remedied is by an event called CreateAThon. Groups of creative professionals, including graphic designers and copywriters, get together for a 24-hour whirlwind creative spree with the goal of creating professionally designed marketing materials for worthy nonprofit organizations. All the work and subsequent printing is donated.

It has been the pleasure of Burlington Press to donate the printed materials for this project for the past 6 years. I learned about CreateAThon when an organization I volunteer for was selected to participate. I was amazed at the quality of the work being done. I quickly offered our help and it has been our pleasure to donate the printing ever since.

The 2012 CreateAThon was the 10th anniversary of this event. The organizers of the the Delaware Valley CreateAThon, Richard Cardona and Alison Judah, who are owners of Hypno Design, decided that 10 organizations should be served to honor the 10th anniversary. This anniversary year was a stretch of resources because usually only about 5 or 6 organizations are selected, however somehow it all came together.

Not all 10 organizations needed printing, but those that did were:

BalletX – Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company – We donated a direct mail campaign.

Community Soup Kitchen – Works with the homeless and hungry in Philadelphia – We donated posters.

Feast of Justice – Provides a community food pantry and other resources including counseling and educational programs – We donated two brochures and posters.

Orchard Friends School – A private school that serves children with disabilities -We donated a brochure and presentation folder.

Perkins Center for the Arts – An arts organization in South Jersey – We donated a direct mail campaign.

Physicians for Social Responsibility – A well- known organization comprised of medical professionals – We donated stationary, business cards and a brochure.

Singing City – A choral music performance and educational organization – We donated stationary, business cards and a poster.

Virtual Tutoring and Mentoring – Offers virtual school options to help children achieve proficiency in reading, math and writing – We donated stationary, business cards and a brochure.

Woman’s Solo Project – Offers services to at-risk women and children – We donated stationary, business cards and two brochures.

Some of these organizations are startups that could never have afforded the amount of work involved in these creative and printing services. Others are well-established nonprofits that have needed help due to the economy, loss of donors amongst other reasons.

All of this printing amounted to over $12,500 and it feels good to be able to donate this amount of work to this many organizations.

 

Posted in Life, Marketing, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment